Most enterprises are looking at the ways 5G and emerging smart ecosystems may help increase employee productivity, reduce costs, enhance customer experience, and improve business agility. Enterprises want high-value, easy-to-use services for their contact centers and communications capabilities in order to improve collaboration, mobility, and administrative functionality.
Rather than invest significantly in premise-based phone systems or PBXs, small to midsized businesses (SMBs) — whether 25-500 seats or multi-thousand seats — want to outsource these mission-critical services so they can become more scalable and versatile. They can do this through Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS); however, most IT teams do not want the hassle of managing separate communications platforms — one for enterprise workers and another for contact center agents.
It’s for this reason that we believe hosted cloud communications services are how UCaaS and CCaaS will come together to enhance customer experience with near-zero configuration and near-instant set-up. Our mission is to provide an integrated architecture through which organizations can sell, deliver, manage, and invoice end-to-end communications capabilities. To succeed in our mission, we have to realize that what got us to 300,000 seats might not be what gets us to 1 million seats. Continued relevancy and value of the platform and business model that have enabled our Partner network to succeed with cloud communications rely on our commitment to never stop innovating, reevaluating, and improving.
Moving to ‘Best-Practice’ Frameworks
Our early days often required that we take a “scrappy” or “bootstrap” approach in terms of making a lot from a little to prove the business model and get things off the ground. When we started back in 2005, open source technologies helped us avoid the costs and rigidity of some more mainstream commercial applications. We had servers hosted in data centers—with everything on dedicated compute resources or “purpose built,” we had to consider every investment from the perspective of scale and cost. More often than not, this meant leaning towards opensource vs commercial.
Now, as we have grown and matured, we have the means to ask “what is the best technology for delivery and scaling”? Where we still value and use many opensource technologies like Linux, OpenStack, and many others, our focus has shifted appropriately to deploying whatever technology is best to help deliver the quality, reliability, security and scale needed to meet the demands of our channel and their end-customers. Some of our recent successes stem from sourcing technologies needed to provide our services with best-of-breed companies’ technologies— virtualization and maximizing management and control so we have surefire performance and business continuity. That usually comes by extracting software from hardware to minimize impact on partners and customers in the event of failures. And no matter who you are, you have to assume there will be some of those.
Because we had moved far beyond the infancy stage, we knew we couldn’t (or shouldn’t) engineer every single component of our data centers to address the need for more services, more innovation— faster, better. In order to accelerate the release of new services, we wanted to reduce the customization necessary when enhancements to solutions and services were wanted by our Partners.
Enter Oracle Communications for Real Time Communications
One of the first areas we looked at was that of our session border controller, a critical piece for securing communications across IP network borders. We no longer wanted to patch together open source and commercial solutions. After evaluating Oracle Communications Session Border Controller (SBC), we decided it would be a “best-practice” architecture that would address key areas like performance, capacity, high availability, manageability, security, interoperability, regulatory compliance, and revenue/cost optimization. And all without us having to reinvent the wheel as we knew it would just work without us having to patch anything together. We announced in April that we invested in not only the Oracle Communications Session Border Controller, but also the Subscriber-Aware Load Balancer and Operations Monitor to improve real-time communications (RTC) services. The SBC protects us against security threats; the load balancer gives us the scale to go up to 10 million subscribers from a single address; and the Operations Manager increases visibility into network traffic (even if non-Oracle SIP devices).
By building software solutions around the Oracle framework, it’s been less expensive and less risky for us. When we want an enhanced call recording solution, we can focus on the core competencies — the “secret sauce” — that differentiates us from others.
The Secret Sauce for Customer Engagement
Because UCaaS and CCaaS are becoming a commodity, with many fast followers coming into the fray every day, we know we have to pursue more innovative greenfield technology, such as contact center and video collaboration. Contact Centers are very hot right now, with a massive amount of companies realizing they lack call center technology, a major element of customer engagement and cost reduction for future services.
To differentiate we have our own stack of UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, hosted on an integrated platform (CoreNexaTM), through which we offer near-zero configuration and near-instant set-up, thanks to the Oracle’s partnership with Microsoft Teams. We empower more than 800 channel partners, with a direct way to market that makes them trusted advisors to their customers (close to 30,000 businesses nationwide). By leveraging the cloud, our partners and their customers have a cost-effective, secure way to leverage interactive voice response (IVR) automation, intelligent routing capabilities, presence management, call-and-join features, and detailed reporting and analytics. They can meet specific business and vertical market needs, as well as the needs of informal customer engagement workgroups, such as technical support, sales, accounts payable and field service among many others.
Whether a doctor’s office or a tech company, there are innumerable verticals and horizontal opportunities to do not only automated IVRs, but disruptive practices that deliver outstanding customer experience for SMBs looking to please their customers. By working with Oracle, we can look to the future, and integrate the UCaaS and CCaaS stack with WebRTC-based contact center technology, including text, SMS mobile customer engagement, voice and call routing, into its existing cloud communications platform. We can focus on expansion and globalization, and help our customers beat out the competition as communications become central to a greater customer experience.
Also, download our report “5G Smart Ecosystems are Transforming the Enterprise—Are You Ready?” and our Session Border Controller Primer to learn more about why SBCs are indispensable to RTC.